The purpose of the Employability and Skills Programme is to bring forward a £3m programme of activity that supports an inclusive economy in the North of Tyne.  This will enable good quality and locally tailored employment support interventions that will add value to existing support for unemployed and economically inactive residents.  The Employability and Skills Programme Network consists of the following organisations, with more information on each project below:

  • Changing Lives
  • Groundwork North East
  • North East Autism Society


Changing Lives

Project – Get Ahead

Get Ahead supports people to overcome the complex reasons that prevent them finding work by building on strengths and aspirations using the skills and expertise of partners and local employers to achieve their goals to make a lasting change.

Activities include employer engagement to build on and develop partnerships with local businesses to deliver apprenticeships, employment and training opportunities, providing budgeting and financial skills interventions and intensive employment support to enable people to address their multiple complex barriers to accessing the labour market. This includes one-to-one tailored support to individuals with multiple and complex barriers into job search and/or gain employment; provide a range of structured training courses for individuals; tackle barriers around financial exclusion; provide a work placement programme and deliver the project on-line including virtual job clubs and virtual business visits.

End date: December 2023

Referrals: Professional referrals or self-referrals are accepted.

Criteria: Individuals 18+ who are not in work and have barriers to gaining employment

Contact: Angela Purvis –


Groundwork North East

Project – Northern Directions

Northern Directions works with young people (16-24) not in education, employment or training. Each person is assigned a youth worker who will develop an action plan, offering an end-to-end employability and personal development package tailored to the unique and complex needs of each participant.

Activities include 1:1 support through coaching, mentoring and Information, Advice and Guidance, specialist interventions including debt management and health and wellbeing, learning and development opportunities, employer engagement and supported progression pathways, including (self)-employment, apprenticeship/traineeship, further education and training. The Project also includes a programme of Green/Digital sessions and has the opportunity for residents to volunteer on the programme to support the participants need.

End date: October 2023

Referrals: via website and through a direct call to a youth worker.

Criteria: 16-24 years old, NEET, right to live and work in the UK, Not engaged on other ESF provision

Contact: Mary Blackwell –


North East Autism Society

Project – DiversityNE

Diversity NE provides community based one-to-one support for individuals, working alongside an Employment Specialist to develop skills for work and effective job search, as well as providing employer engagement to develop employer readiness for inclusive and supportive employment. Support starts with an assessment of each client, following an Individualised Action Plan to develop a schedule of activity based on individual needs; agree support strategies; and address identified employment needs. The project is being delivered by a newly formed partnership between Azure Charitable Enterprises and North East Autism Society.

Some examples of project activities include supported work placements and volunteering, peer support, in-work support, dyslexia assessment/support and confidence building.

End date: December 2023

Referrals: Jobcentre Plus, independent referral organisations and self-referral.

Criteria: Unemployed or economically inactive with a Neurodivergent condition or learning support needs. Autism or Learning Difficulties are self-declared. Able to independently travel and desire to move into employment.

Contact: Derek Groves –